Will My Kitten's Eyes Stay Blue? Common Kitten Questions
Simply stated, kittens are adorable! Even if you are not an animal lover, you must admit that kittens are cute little balls of fluff!
Unfortunately, kittens have a high mortality rate—about 25 percent. Therefore, proper kitten care is oh-so-important if you want a healthy, well-adjusted pet! Why is the kitten mortality rate so high? Well, let me tell you! The most common kitten killers are bacterial and viral infections, hypothermia, parasites, and birth defects. I have raised my share of kittens (I am currently fostering a mom and her five babies for the SPCA), so I understand how to properly care for them. Below are some of the most common kitten-related questions that I am asked. If you have a question for me, don't hesitate to ask (simply type it in the comment section below).
When Is It Safe to Take a Kitten Away From Mom?
This is a great question (as well as an important one). Many kittens are taken from their moms way too soon. When this happens, the kitten misses out on valuable life lessons! Kittens should stay with their mother and siblings for at least 10 to 12 weeks. Good cat breeders will not allow a kitten to be taken from its mother until it has reached this age range. Why? Well, just as your mom taught you valuable life skills, a mother cat teaches her babies. Kittens learn how to use the toilet (think litter box), socialization skills (how to play nicely with other cats), and even how to eat out of a dish properly! If you take a kitten away from its mother too soon, there is a good chance that it will have developmental issues. Besides, if you wait for the appropriate amount of time before taking your new fur-ball home, you will save on medical expenses, as most likely you will get a kitten that has already been de-wormed, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated. Just remember, though it is exciting to get a new kitten, be patient and allow mama to do her job!
My Kitten Has Fleas! What Can I Do?
Well, unfortunately, not much. Flea treatments cannot be used on kittens because the chemicals can harm them.
The best thing you can do is buy a stainless steel flea comb and gently comb each kitten in order to remove as many fleas as possible. I know this can be a slow process. However, until the kittens are older, there isn't much more you can do.
If you wish, you can give your baby a sponge bath using warm water and Dawn Dish Washing Soap (fleas hate Dawn). Simply wet down your kitten very carefully with the soap-and-water mixture, and then gently comb him with the special flea comb. Be sure to rinse the kitten completely and never put his or her head under water! It is also very important that you dry the kitten(s) completely!
If the kittens you are caring for have a major flea infestation, take them to the vet as fleas can suck the blood (and life) right out of a kitten. If you are only dealing with a few fleas and the kitten's health does not seem to be affected, comb, wash, and keep an eye on it!
My Kitten's Eyes are Blue! Will They Stay Blue?
As beautiful as blue is, most likely, your kitten's eyes will change color. All kittens are born with blue eyes (however, you won't be able to see their baby blues for a few days as they are born with their eyes closed!). For the first seven to 13 days, they depend on smell and, of course, mom in order to survive. When your kitten is about one month old, his or her eyes will begin to change color from blue to well, any number of shades (iridescent green, gold, amber, or yellow-gold, or it is possible that they will stay blue or change to a new shade of blue). At about three months of age, what you see is what you get as the permanent color has most likely settled in at this point. It is interesting to note that a kitten's eye color is genetically related to his or her coat color. Who knew!?
Caring for a kitten is relatively easy, especially if an attentive, loving mother cat is involved! Mother cats take very good care of their babies and will look after their every need including feeding, bathing, and staying warm. They even stimulate them in order to make them go to the bathroom! If you are currently caring for a kitten and it appears to be lethargic or not eating, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible as the mortality rate for newborn kittens is very high! Kittens are adorable and loving little balls of fur that if cared for properly, grow up to be loving and adorable cats! Meow!